It was a fast start and big fight to make the breakaway on the 220km stage with attack after attack pulled back until finally, eight riders, including Łukasz Wiśniowski, went clear at the base of the category two climb to Flims.
The group established a maximum advantage of four minutes but with more than 150 kilometers still the ride, the advantage was never going to be enough to stay away.
Wiśniowski lost contact with the breakaway on the category one Lukmanierpass and was eventually absorbed by the peloton on the approach to the final, 12-kilometer-long climb which featured an average gradient of 7.4 percent.
The long day of climbing quickly took its toll and the peloton rapidly reduced in size on the early slopes but Geschke managed to hang on until the group was down to around 25 riders with nine kilometers remaining, by which stage the gap to the last remaining breakaway rider was down to 30 seconds.
Geschke, who has been sidelined twice this year by crashes, eventually lost contact and continued to ride his own pace before crossing the line in 30th place, 5’24” down on stage winner and race leader Egan Bernal (Team INEOS).
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was probably the hardest stage I have done this year. The Tour de Suisse is always a high level and it was the longest stage of the race today. I was happy with my legs so I wanted to give it a try. I tried to hang on as long as possible and I think I was down to the last 30 riders or so. Once I found my rhythm I just continued to the top. It was not that long, fortunately. I still miss a couple of race days this year so it was a good test and good to see, for my morale, that I improved this week. Hopefully, it continues like this.”
“There were so many different attacks. I was with Michael Albasini (Mitchelton-SCOTT) but still the bunch was keeping us close and then some more riders jumped across. We reached the base of the climb with only 20 seconds but the bunch eventually let us go so we were eight guys in front. Halfway up the second climb I dropped from the group. I was really quite tired from trying to make the breakaway and most of the guys were better climbers than me so I really struggled to stay on the wheel. In the end though, it was a nice effort. I came from altitude camp so I thought I would be better but one day has been good and then next not as good. But, it’s been good and hard week.”
Tour de Suisse
Stage 7 Unterterzen > Gotthardpass (220km)
Top 3: 1. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS), 2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain Merida), 3. Rohan Dennis (Bahrain Merida).
CCC Team top 3: 30. Simon Geschke, 61. Greg Van Avermaet, 62. Michael Schär